Word of Mouth, Rock ‘n’ Roll Style
By Sara McGuyer • Apr 22nd, 2010 • Category: Analysis, Loose Ends
Last night I went to the Ok Go concert (an MOKB and WTTS production at the Earth House) as a casual fan. I own one album, and I (along with millions of other YouTube viewers) find their videos clever and amusing. They have never been among my favorite bands, but despite that I am much more likely to tell stories about this concert than any other.
Throughout the entire performance, elements of surprise were woven into the show. I can only guess they had a decent confetti budget, which they showered intermittently on the crowd.
There was complete surprise and delight among the audience as frontman Damian Kulash grabbed his microphone and guitar, hopped off stage and headed to the center of the crowd. A sound man met him there with a stool, and perched there he sang an entire number and gave high fives to some fans at the end of the song. High fives are free. It didn’t cost anything extra for him to give the audience this more intimate experience. The people that got high fives will probably tell everyone they know about it.
There were plenty of noteworthy bits, such as the live cameras that broadcast close-up shots of each musician on the screen behind them, the band tossing tamborines out into the crowd and wearing their electric jackets that lit up their backs to spell out OK GO. They even had lasers beaming out from the necks of their guitars. Every movement on stage caused their red and green lasers to dance around the venue, its walls and on the fans themselves.
Every time the video screen effects changed to show something new and cool, or a new element appeared, the cameras and phones went into action to capture the moments. More photos and comments uploaded equates to more share of the online conversation for Ok Go.
Then they showed that they really get their fans. While everyone in the crowd has been raising phones up to snap low quality memories of the show, what does Damian do? He grabs his own camera and turns it on us. He wants a picture of his Indianapolis crowd? (for the record I hope they do something cool with the photo, post it somewhere or the magic is lost) The crowd went absolutely wild over being photographed by him. This simple gesture showed that the show was an experience for the band too and gave the audience the spot light for a moment (which reminds me of a great blog post on music marketing by Mack Collier in which he says, “Besides, don’t we all really want to be rockstars?”).
What really stunned me was the announcement halfway through the show that they were creating a live recording of the entire show, to be available for purchase for $20 immediately after on a domino-shaped USB drive. Ok Go smartly created another revenue stream (and while the awesomeness of the show is still fresh on our mind, we’re emotionally connected and ready to buy), but more importantly they’ve provided a momento of the experience that we’ll share with others.
I think the audience came in expecting the band to play a solid set. It was all of the creative extras that made it memorable, something worth talking about. If you feel like you’re going through the motions in your business, learn from Ok Go. Bring the wow, make your customers feel special and they will talk.
As I left the venue, the band members were hanging outside, signing autographs and letting fans take photos with the members. That just might generate a little word of mouth for the band. Well played, Ok Go.
Sara McGuyer is an account strategist with Wise Elephant and marketing director/board member for the Indianapolis International Film Festival. Find her on twitter http://twitter.com/sara_mc
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